Council: building activity up, new conflict of interest regulations discussed

During district council meeting, topics of discussion also included an update on crown land acquisition and Pete Rodseth Memorial Park

Crown land acquisition update

The District of Vanderhoof is looking to acquire the quarter section of land at the end of Markay Drive — property SE ¼, Section 1, Township 11, Range 5 Coast District.

To complete the acquisition, Peter Ryks will be hired to complete a detailed appraisal that would cost up to $5,000.

Once transferred into municipality ownership, the district looks to eventually subdivide the property into five-acre housing, CAO Tom Clement said.

 

Pete Rodseth Memorial Park

An official opening ceremony for the Pete Rodseth Memorial Park — named last fall — northwest of Burrard Bridge will take place in June, as work for the memorial plaque completes.

 

Building activity up from last year

So far, the start of 2016’s building season has seen three new housing starts, including one duplex and two single family units. Three other residential permits are under review, including one duplex and two single family units. Four of the six new construction are located in an older established neighbourhood of Vanderhoof.

Last year, only five residential permits during the entire season, representing six living units in total.

 

New conflict of interest regulations for local government

During council meeting on May 16, the roles of the district’s liaisons in the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce and the Nechako Valley Historical Society were discussed — the two groups received the majority of its funding from the district.

As of May 4, elected municipal officials can be appointed by their local government to serve on society or corporate boards, without risking disqualification based on financial conflict of interest.

Approved by the provincial government earlier this month, the new regulations aim to help ensure accountability and reinforce that the appointed official is serving a public, rather than personal, interest.

The change arose from the 2013 BC Court of Appeal decision on the Schlenker vs. Torgrimson court case, where two Islands Trust trustees voted at a local trust committee meeting to give money to societies, but they didn’t declare their roles as the societies’ directors. The court found that “divided loyalty” is inherent when a local elected official served as a director on a society/corporate board that may receive funding from the local government.

For one councillor, concerns may include the fact that certain boards need voting members, and being part of the board can take away the objectivity of the role.

 

– with files from the District of Vanderhoof